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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BC Announces Recovery Plan for Caribou

Strategy gets mixed reaction from conservationists

Conservation organizations are cautiously optimistic on the heels of a BC government announcement that it will act to recover mountain caribou. The groups are troubled however, that government is still considering writing off some smaller herds and by the strong emphasis being placed on predator management instead of habitat protections.

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Vancouver, BC Oct 26, 2006

Conservation organizations are cautiously optimistic on the heels of a BC government announcement that it will act to recover mountain caribou. The groups are troubled however, that government is still considering writing off some smaller herds and by the strong emphasis being placed on predator management instead of habitat protections.    
 
“We are pleased that government released the scientist’s findings and seems committed to an open and public process for recovering our mountain caribou. But we want to stress that killing off wolves and cougars is not a real solution, especially in the absence of habitat protections,” said Joe Scott of Conservation Northwest, one of several Canadian and US groups working to conserve caribou on both sides of the border.   “Habitat is the key to wildlife protection, not predator control or moving animals from smaller herds into larger ones.”
 
The mountain caribou advocacy groups want interim habitat protections pending recovery plan approval, a ban on logging in caribou habitat and enforceable standards for motorized recreation, which has been shown to displace the animals.
 
The scientific panel listed five types of recovery actions, including protecting core mountain caribou habitat from logging, managing recreation activities in mountain caribou habitat, and moving caribou from larger herds into smaller ones in order to boost smaller populations. They also noted two more controversial activities: removing deer and moose from mountain caribou habitat, and removing predators such as cougars and wolves that are known to kill mountain caribou.
 
“While in the short-term some predator management has been recommended by some scientists, these same scientists are also clear that the only way to recover mountain caribou is to protect and restore their habitat,” Scott added.   “We will only support a recovery action plan that includes protecting enough habitat to recover caribou across their range.”
 
Candace Batycki of ForestEthics added, “Poll after poll shows that the public wants endangered wildlife protected, even if there are economic impacts.  We have a moral, ethical, and legal obligation to ensure that these herds do not disappear.  We are committed to working with government and other stakeholders as long as that process serves the public good, not just special interests.”

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